5 Simple Swaps for a Zero Waste Kitchen
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about creating an ecofriendly, zero waste bathroom, and how I believe transitioning to a more eco-conscious lifestyle should be simple so that everyone can do it. The same goes for your kitchen! The kitchen seems to be another spot in the house that becomes inundated with yucky plastic. We probably don’t want those plastics to be around things that we consume. So here are a few easy steps you can take to transition your kitchen space.
1. Bamboo instead of Plastic Cooking Utensils
Instead of plastic cooking utensils, make the switch to bamboo. This was one of my first ever zero waste swaps years ago. Unlike their plastic counterparts, bamboo cooking utensils won’t leach nasty chemicals into all your delicious meals. Head over to my blog post, “reduce toxins in the kitchen,” to learn more about the benefits of using bamboo kitchenware. There’s not only a sweet set of bamboo kitchen utensils in my online zero waste shop but also bamboo pot scrapers! I remember growing up, my mom always used those plastic pot scrapers from Pampered Chef. I was super excited when I found a plastic free option!
2. Cloth Unpaper Towels instead of Disposable Paper Towels
When first starting my zero waste journey, eliminating paper towels from my kitchen was something I never thought I would do. I was so dependent on them; I really thought they were a kitchen necessity. However, I’ve started using cloth napkins, rags, and towels instead of paper and haven’t missed paper towels one bit! We have a giant stash of mix and match towels in our kitchen drawer that we use in place of paper towels. Some people prefer a set of unpaper towels for kitchen clean up. An added bonus of switching to cloth towels is that it saves us money. No more purchasing rolls and rolls of paper towels, woo!
3. Compostable Dish Scrubbers
Instead of those little yellow and green kitchen sponges, choose a compostable loofah kitchen scrubber instead. This way, you will be saving sponges from heading to the landfill, because you can just toss these scrubbers into your compost bin. They last just as long as a conventional sponge but are completely plastic free. There are quite a few to choose from in the Tiny Yellow Bungalow shop, but my personal favorite is the penguin scrubber! 🙂 You can also use plastic free dish brushes and bottle brushes for washing dishes, especially for tall glasses and jars.
4. Zero Waste Dish Soap
This idea is a relatively new one for me! I had been hunting for a zero waste alternative to plastic bottles of dish soap for a really long time. My local grocery didn’t have the option of buying dish soap in bulk. It wasn’t until I asked in the Tiny Yellow Bungalow Facebook group that I found the perfect zero waste dish soap solution – Savon de Marseille. It’s basically a large cube of olive oil soap that you scrub your dish scrubber on directly and then use the lathered soap for washing your dishes. It’s genius!
5. Compost Kitchen Scraps
I keep a bowl next to my sink to fill with kitchen scraps for my compost bin. I learned early on that the majority of the waste in my kitchen is compostable. We compost fruit and veggie scraps, ground coffee and paper filters, our loofah dish scrubbers, paper, etc. If you are new to composting, I’m happy to tell you more about it. Check out my blog post – composting for rookies for more details.
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Update: Ok, so I’ve since upgraded my makeshift compost bowl to a stainless steel kitchen compost container. My aunt gifted me this beautiful container and I absolutely love it!! We fill our kitchen compost container daily and then dump in each afternoon into our backyard compost tumbler.
Other Eco-Conscious & Zero Waste Kitchen Swaps
Shop at local farmer’s markets or join a CSA if possible in your area. The closer the farm to your table, the more sustainable your meals will be! You have to consider the energy input for foods at your local grocer that have arrived from far away countries. Also, added bonus, often times local sellers are happy to cater to your plastic free requests. Bring you own produce bags to the farmers market and skip the disposable plastic bags!
Grow Your Own
It doesn’t get more zero waste than home grown foods, am I right?! Consider starting a small herb garden in your kitchen to use when cooking. Even apartment dwellers can partake in this style of gardening! If you have a backyard at your home, you could build some raised garden beds and create your own little veggie patch. I started growing fruits and veggies in my backyard a few years ago, and I have loved simply walking out back, picking a few tomatoes and peppers, and using them for home cooked meals.
Reduce Food Waste
Don’t let all your delicious locally grown produce go to waste before you use it. Head over to our previous blog post “tips on reducing food waste” to learn more!
Shopping in the bulk foods section is a great way to eliminate packaging and in turn promote an ecofriendly, zero waste kitchen. In my town, we are lucky enough to have several local grocers that sell not only nuts and candies in bulk but also grains, beans, flour, granola, etc. Zero Waste Nerd has created a great resource for finding local bulk options in your area. Head over to her website to find bulk shopping in your town. And of course, don’t forget to bring your Tiny Yellow Bungalow reusable bulk bags!
What zero waste kitchen tips can you share with me?? Post in the comments!
Author’s Note: This blog post was originally posted in May 2016, but I’ve updated some information and want to share it with my newest Tiny Yellow Bungalow followers. Enjoy y’all!